Great New Reads: Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You

UPDATED: March 23, 2013
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2013

By: Marc Schoen, Ph.D.


Hudson Street Press; $25.95

Stress. It’s a small word that packs a big punch. And our ability to handle it seems to be diminishing, says Marc Schoen, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. We live in a pretty comfortable world with less life-threatening situations today than in the past, and, because of that, we don't take uncomfortable situations well. Our nerves are jumpy, and we overreact to annoyances and irritating situations, not just immediate dangers. Schoen, author of When Relaxation is Hazardous to Your Health , explains why our limbic system, the area of the brain that triggers the fight-or-flight response, is in overdrive and how we can dial it back to a manageable, civilized level–that "Survival Instinct" needs to cool its jets. With minimal medical jargon in Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You
, Schoen explains the relationship between our “inner survivalist” and the external forces that lead to overstimulation and agitation. For example, one effective way to control anxiety is to exercise our “Discomfort Muscles,” so we’re better able and more accustomed to tolerating uncomfortable situations. To that end, Schoen provides exercises and techniques to tame the anxiety monster and the mayhem it causes. Relief is in sight.